Monday, 29 November 2021

Social to the Royal Cottage.

 Hello all,

            Apologies for the length of time with no blog posts - stuff, never mind things - have happened. Nothing bad I should point out, but still stuff. Not to mention....things.

So using the joy of language, in naming this post as I have I have created an expectation that I organised a trip out to the Royal Cottage. Except I didn't. It's initially quite believable though isn't it?

So on the 19th I was supposed to be meeting up with the wonderful Tash about 1515 for a walk - sadly, this did not happen due to events. So we agreed she would get a bath and head into town later, and meet me there. At this point my lovely new phone had once again stopped recharging, so I headed into town with my old phone, knowing I could use it on Wi-Fi. 

The Social on Snig Hill was my starting place - I had a pint of Serious Bodaceia on cask from the past, along with a pack or two of crisps. When ordering my next at the Bar I asked if they had any WiFi - they said they did, but did not have a password - this explained why , when I checked, neither Tash or Matt had received my messages. After a third of Hophurst DIPA I headed up to High Street, and could not find them.

I thought about popping into the Three Tuns for one but half of it was closed off for a celebration so I headed to my chums at Bar Stewards where I can get onto the WiFi. Here I had a pint of Liquid Light pale - or any other beer, and found I had missed a call from WK. I said he could call me and he suggested that despite it's late notice we could go to the Packhorse at Crowdecote. Having asked Matt and Tash, she was sadly not up to it so WK picked me up after 1800 in his new car, and  hour ten minutes later we were at Crowdecote!

Having ordered food we had a choice of 4 real ales and I went on to two pintts of Storm Milk of Amnesia and a pint of Eyam Golden ale, with Keith on a half of the same. The meal was very enjoyable, although sadly we didn't meet up with the guy who knew my Dad - primarily to confirm his recent passing.

From here we drove up into Longnor - now seemingly supporting just a single pub - and headed across the moors past the mermaid's pool and ahead spotted a light in the difference - stopping soon after we found the unsigned road which leads down the side of the Royal Cottage and to our delight the front light was on!

I will never forget how happy it made us both - the smiles on both our faces - and we parked up directly outside before letting ourselves in. When me and Keith and Carlos had been in the funeral car back in January I had said we ought to pop back to see Cliffe - if nothing else as he would possibly say " a thot tha'd deed". On this occasion,l after saying hello, he simply said " a notice thus only two f yer - whes yer Dad - as ee not med it?". I should point out, that nothing that Cliffe says is ever insulting. It's brusque, yes, but reflective of his location and life. We calmly told him that Wee Fath had been found dead at Christmas.

We only stopped for one in here - a bottle of Old Speckled Hen for me and a bottle of Manns Brown ale for WK. Whilst I was in the loo Cliffe told WK all about his thoughts about the passing of Ken at the Quiet Woman and also how he felt things were progressing at Carl's, the Butcher's at Reapsmoor. Always full of info ais Clifffe, and usually reasonably reliable.

On reflection, its an increasingly sad story re local pubs - two have changed hands and four local hostelries have closed permanently in the last ten years. Thankfully the Ner Inn at Flash and the Packhorse at Crowdecote seem to remain strong, but there's less certainty regarding the Butcjhers and especially the Quiet Woman.

We drove straight home from Cliffe's, arriving back about 22:50 for me, with WK hoping to grab a last drink on Crookes in the Two Sheds. Despite the intention of referencing WF's sad passing, I have to say that this was a very enjoyable night out/

Your very best of health

Wee Beefy




Friday, 17 September 2021

Emmanuales - eh?

Orw waaaaarh. 

You may be thinking. 

              I know I was - I thought that Emmanuales had closed down? Do you not remember that number of slightly grim bottles without the leter K that they produced a few years ago? I did!  So it was with a certain amount of surprise that I saw 2 or 3 of their brews advertised at Beer Central back in August. And, purely on a research basis, I went for two - their Black IPA which was about 6.9% if memory serves (and it doesn't) along with their 10000 Saisons, described at the front of the can as a "Rustic saison". What would it be like? And who and where are they these days? 

Well, perhaps to my surprise - both were excellent. I tried their black IPA first, which had a name and everything, and it was fab! Quite an old time flavour if am honest - but not in a bad way. It was actually the perfect blend of bitter hopiness, fruit/citra and dark smokey malt. I loved it.

And what of their Saison? Well, to start with, it was a marvelous 7.8%. One of the things I very much appreciated about the Emmanuales bottles back in the day was that they were always strong - and in this case, not afraid to breach the 7.4% barrier that many brewers currently and understandably stay away from. So I was very pleased - and admittedly not surprised - to find that this saison was simultaneously strong as well as very refreshing!

There was also thankfully a lot of yeast left in the can - one thing that disappoints me a little about...um....modern cans...is the lack, irrespective of the cloudiness, of yeast in any substance, or possibly other adjuncts(?) left in the bottom of a can? Not least because I like to ensure that I get a good drop of each brew so am usually willing to wash out the bottom of the can or bottle in order to add more murk or depth to each taste, and of course' slightly prolong it's consumption. This ticked every box.

So - where are they based these days I hear me ask? Because I distinctly recall the brewer/founder being interviewed on Look Norfff about 5  years or so ago showing him selling, and presumably brewing, his bears at a Sheffield Brewery tap - am thinking perhaps at Sheffield Brew Company? Or I may have misremembered one of those facts....

I know that Neepsend had to move last year or  similar, and there's nothing preventing Sheffield Brew Company doing the same. But I wasn't actually sure whether firstly that would see him leave, or whether the issues with the brewing or bottling previously caused him to at best postpone production.

Now the can says they are based on Cromwell Street in S6. As a can it rather unsurprisingly doesn't name the brewer, but I have no reason to presume it has changed hands or indeed brewers. Either way both of the beers tried were more well balanced and perhaps more accomplished than the brewery's previous offerings. Alas, having as yet not carried out any internet searches - where everything is true - on the same, am unsure of whom it is brews there, and what happened to their previous undertaking or location.

I am however sure that they are now producing fabulous and very quaffable brews here in fine, sunny, Sheffield - go give them a try!

Cheers

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 9 September 2021

A few drops in sunny Ayrshire.

,  Afternoon all,

      when myself and Wee Keefy traveled up to Ayr, Portpatrick and then finally the isle of Whithorn in September  2019, our showing the pics to Mumraah persuaded her that she fancied a last trip up to Ayrshire, where her and my Dad used to live, and where myself and Keith were born. Initially we booked rooms at the Chestnuts Hotel in Ayr for April or May 2020. So that didn't happen. We thought about rearranging it for March this year but restrictions did not lift in time and we eventually agreed to go up this month. As sadly Wee Fatha passed away at Christmas, we found in his funeral details that he wanted his ashes scattered on the headland at Maidens, where my Grandad's are. So on the 3rd of September we drove up.

Arriving about 1630 at the Chestnuts, we got settled into our rooms before eating at 1830. I headed downstairs around 1745 to see what beers they had on in the bar. There were 3 ales on cask from the past, and to be honest am not sure what they all were - not least because firm favourite Fyne Ales Jarl was on. So I had a pint of that sat outside in the sunny Garden before I came in to eat. The Jarl was in excellent condition so I had another 2 pints.

We were planning on walking to town and back - but en route we popped in the Glen Park Hotel, the Ayr Brewing tap. I was on a pint of Summer Mittens, a cloudy session pale at about 4%, and Wee Keefy was on their bitter Jolly Beggars. After a couple of pints of these I finished on a pint of their Leezy Lundie Pale ale, before we headed back to the hotel. This showed us something that we hadn't previously realised - I knew that staffing levels were low in the licensed trade, but many pubs and bars now shut at 21:00.

The next day we drove to Maidens via Maybole - where none of us could remember where we used to live! Having stopped off at a castellated farmhouse just outside we turned right at Kirkoswald and soon parked up in Maidens. Myself and Martin walked carrying Wee Fatha's box of ashes along the lane and through the woods to the headland - whereas WK took Mumraah and himself to park in Culzean Castle, at about £457, and they walked from the swan pond to meet us.

To be fair the scattering of Dad's ashes wasn't as stressful or upsetting as we had worried. And once that was done we walked back to the swan pond for a cuppa each before we returned to the car and went for lunch from K's Kitchen in Maidens before visiting the harbour.

Once we had dropped Mumraah back at the hotel, WK, Martin and myself went to Dalmillington and then to some nearby waterfalls for a short walk and some pics. We then drove over the hills to Straiton and onwards into Kirkmichael. Here we went into the Kirckmichael Arms, where I had a pint of Kelburn Jaguar, Martin a glass of orange juice and WK a half of the Kelburn. On our last visit they had served a cloudy Ayr Brewing pale and it was ace - this visit did not disappoint.

 After tea we walked into Ayr town centre and having looked at some un suggested options, we ended up in the Smoking Goat downstairs from a side street near the bridge. Jarl was once again on here, and at £3.70 a pint was cheaper than the hotel, but they also sold another beer from Williams brewery which  Keith had. I had a "slotter" before we shared a bottle of Williams Bros 7 Giraffes IPA to finish our first visit to this loud but busy and friendly bar. Must revisit!

We next went to Wellingtons bar, under a building in Wellington square. When we got there it was quite busy but despite their opening until midnight it quickly quietened down. Here they had two beers on cask - Loch Lomond brewery summer clouds or similar for myself and Kelburn Pivo for WK - we had a few rounds in here before walking through the park by the sea in complete darkness, and finishing for a last one in the hotel bar - Jarl once again. 

Sunday we visited Girvan and Pinmoor and then drove to Glentrool. We grabbed scran from the cafe there before driving up a single track lane to park up for the Robert the Bruce memorial where we had our nosh. We drove the long way back over mountain roads to Straiton and back the same way as the day before, and having dropped both Mumraah and Martin off myself and Keith drove to park up near the Failford Inn to walk up the Great Ayr Gorge and to Peden's cove further up.

The weather was fantastic with bright sunshine and the path was easy to follow - although the usual route along the side of the water had sadly slipped away due to a landslide so it was initially uphill and back down again. Having let WK climb the steps and walk along a thin cutting into the rocks above Peden's cove to get pics, we walked back out and quickly popped in the Failford Inn.

The last time I had gone here they had the Windie Goat brewery. A quick check on the tinterweb suggests they brewed from 2006 until 2010 only so that must have been when we were last there. They had two real ales that night along with excellent food - but this time the range was Tennents or John Smiths Extra Smooth. Luckily WK spotted some bottles of Williams Bros the birds and the bees IPA so we shared a bottle of that, sat outside in the back garden with small birds whizzing over us throughout.

That night we once again headed into town - after having a couple of pints of fab Jarl - and only went into one bar - back into Wellingtons. Its worth pointing out that they were very kind to WF when we had gone in 2019 - helping him back up the stairs and bringing a chair outside to sit on whilst we awaited a taxi back to the Chestnuts. That. along with 2 real ales and excellent music made this an easy choice for our last night sup.

I remember asking the barmaid if I could look at the pumpclip in order to recall the name of the Loch Lomond beer - and I promised that after a couple of pints I would forget the name. It worked. It may have been summer weather - or any one of thousands of other Scottish beer names......

This time I switched to Kelburn Pivo for 2 of my 4 pints but the main memory I had was of how quiet it was in there - 3 people were in when we arrived along with the lass behind the bar and 3 other members of bar staff. The pub was cosy and freindly but although Sunday is oft a quiet night in many such places, we were very surprised at how quiet it was. We were the only customers for a while. We left about 2100 I think as the hotel locks it's door at 2200 on a Sunday - and making it in good time we also got caught in our first - and only - rain of the trip!

On our way home the next day we stopped twice - once at the Cairn Lodge services near Douglas - where I got 2 cans of Black Isle, and finally at the Tebay Services near Penrith - where I got my 3 bottles of Keith Brewery.

Despite the sad reasons for our trip I have to say that I enjoyed everwhere that we stopped off for drinks, and the beers they served in all of them.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy


Monday, 30 August 2021

New venue - Heist Craft, Neepsend, Sheffield

 Afternoon!

       regular readers, and certainly my chums here in fine, sunny, Sheffield, may be aware that a number of new venues have opened here quite recently. I have heard poor things about Perch by the Dead Parrot brewery, and better things about Social off Waingate, but I have never been to either. So when, following a grim day on Saturday, my great friend Mr G messaged me and asked if I fancied a few pints in Sheffield, I initially suggested the Shakespeares, my second home. But as we drove towards town I asked if he wanted to go to Heist instead. He did. And we did.

Heist Craft is a newly opened bar on Neepsend lane next door to the Gardeners Rest. I say bar - because am quite picky about using the word pub to describe what is clearly not, irrespective of it's intentions. Heist brewery started in Clowne about 5 years ago and I only got to try one of their beers, which was a bottled stout I think, that they brewed with some European visitors. I sadly never got to their haunt in Clowne so when they left I wondered what might happen to them. They now brew hear in Sheffield (you can see the brewery from the seating I think) and when they opened a pop up bar in the car park next door to their present location last year, I tried one of their cans and it was lovely. Having heard good things about this new venue I popped in as we parked across the road.

I now realise that I  have  4 friends who know people either involved with the brewery, venue or its construction - and that, along with mostly positive comments online, made me even more excited to visit. The first thing my companion noted was the small signs advertising food sellers - he had encountered the burger sellers in Manchester previously and was very complimentary. Once we got in through the door at the front the bar was busy, and there was a very good choice. I will say thought that firstly we only saw one list of beers and incorrectly assumed that was everything - which alone wouldn't have mattered, but there's another list at the other end!

Mr G also rued his not reading the description of the 3.5% drivers ale he had a half of - not least because it was a sour. He doesn't like sours as a rule, and so didn't enjoy this one alas. It was frustrating for him as it clearly described it as a fruited sour ale! I think I had a pint of Howling Hops myself and it was lovely. Sat near the entrance we were briefly joined by nutters from the ten pints o lager crowd, but when they left everything became calm once again, and we sought out the loos and then our next drinks.

Mr G this time went for a half of bitter - and confirmed that it tasted of an old school bitter. Sadly that ran out just after but I then got a pint of an NEIPA from Bethnal Green which have sadly forgotten the name of, and this once again satisfied my palate nicely. Whilst we awaited a third I got a pint of a Heist IPA at 7% or so and this was also lovely - I know they are only glasses but I have to say that the way they looked on the tables made them look even more tasty!

Finally, having assessed the second screen, including a brilliant selection of generally stronger beers, I forget what we chose but I got another plus 7% IPA and I know that I really enjoyed it.

When we had got sat down initially I said to my mate that this reminded me of the sort of Manchester bars that I assumed he went in all the time - he said it was, indeed, very similar - but that the opening of a new keg bar in Manchester would barely raise an  eyebrow, what with there already being so many. I admit that the venue may seem a little "hipster" to many - but its range of 32 keg lines, at least 2 of which ran out whilst we were there, along with the excellent food from the room next door which could be eaten at the tables, will make this a desirable place to go, for many.

Its definitely somewhere - hipster or otherwise - that I would very much fancy returning to.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy  

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Feather Star Wirksworth - now at the Red Lion

 Evening readers,

      its sad to say that I only two weeks or so ago found out that the fabulous micropub, the Feather Star, in a tiny former antiques shop on St John's Street in the market place, Wirksworth, had in fact, closed down. Wee Keefy was in Wirksworth doing one of the 4 local circular walks, and said that on trying to find a place for a drink, many places had been shut but the former Feather Star micropub had since become a cake shop or similar. I told him, of course, that he was being ridiculous - since I followed the Feather Star on Friendache. But a quick search online proved that the owners had purchased the former Red Lion market place pub, and were selling a wide range of real ales along with fabulous keg from the future. More woe my Friendache checking! Of course -  I had to visit......

Following our own, admittedly sodden walk, along another Wirksworth based circular walk, we quickly spotted the pub which may be the Hope and Anchor, and then the Blacks Head, before spotting the thankfully open Feather Star, and it's sign, outside the entrance to the Red Lion. Straight away hearing music, and reading the sign, we worked out quickly that they had a brass (instrument) band of 3 blokes next to the bar - and the pub was rammed.

Carefully reaching the bar there were a range of 5 cask from the past on the bar - which I have to say both the beers and settings looked amazing - along with 5 kegs from the future. WK had a low gravity Buxton stout on keg and I had a half of the fabulous Cloudwater Barn in Edale Valley, a wonderful DDH IPA or similar, and in absolutely excellent condition. We then decided to sit outside in the now sunny and dry outdoors, and took off our sopping coats and looked at the view.

Outside there was seating for about 40 people, probably more, on tables and under two covers, and as we admired the view w also admired the fab beers we had bought. I had already tried a glass of the barn in Edale valley in can earlier in the month and remembered I had really liked it - strangely on this occasion it may even have tasted nicer on draught? Either way it didn't take long to sup - so leaving Wee Keefy in the baking sunshine I popped back inside to get a pint of Shiny Cloudy session IPA on cask.

Its a shame to admit but as the pub was so busy, I couldn't see if there was a third room inside, or see what was behind the bar area - I also got chatting to the lovely Jo behind the bar - both when placing my order and also when she popped outside under cover later. When I went back out with my pint it was tipping it down and I found WK sheltering under the covering, sat near what looked like a former settee/chaise lounge or similar, which may have been at the Black bulls Head, Openwoodgate. I have nothing to back this up however.

Jo told me that other Jo and her business partner had closed in December or January 2021 and bought the lease of the Red Lion in May 2021. Recently it had been service outside only whilst they tided up and cleaned the inside of the pub. Puzzlingly if you go on both the Feather Star and then teh Red Lion details on Whatpub it says on th Feather Star that they have taken over the Red Lion - but then on the page for the Red Lion tells that the pub was currently up for sale.

Sadly we only had chance to stop for one - or two in my case - of the selection of beers at the Red Lion, but I have to say that I absolutely loved it! Its somewhere I would like to go back to with Tash next month if possible - the cask range was very good in being reflective of locally brewed cloudy beers along with slightly more traditional Mallinsons and Shiny offerings - not that am saying both of the Shiny or the Mallinsons would have not been cloudy...

So having only recently discovered that the "old" Feather Star had sadly closed, am now very happy to report that the "new" Feather Star has now reopened at the Red Lion. They have an outside area for ordering food but as far as I am aware you can now eat inside - alas I never got to check that since neither me or WK were planning on stopping for scran!

Wishing Jo and Jo and the others others all of the very best for the future.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Three new Sheffield brews

 Evening readers,


         last month Beer Central and Neepsend Brew Co along with Roscoe Road Liqour store brewed a West Coast IPA called High Summer, at an acceptable opening strength of what I recall was 6.8%. It was brewed in relation to the Indy Beer Shop day, if I recall, and was stuffed full of fabulous hops. Sean at Beer Central is a fan of traditionally bitter beers and this was certainly on show here - Citra, Chinook,. Idaho 7, Cascade and Falconers Flight gave this an impressive hop and bitterness back drop which I really took to. This was the first of my beers from Sean which I tried this month and I have to say it didn't disappoint. Very well done to all involved!

Meanwehile it was the Bar Stewards 4th Birthday - and they held do's on Friday Saturday and Sunday to celebrate. In respect of this they had brewed two stunning 4.5% beers to celebrate - Rocket Surgery and Brain Science. Of the two, am not sure where they were brewed but the lovely Helen did quickly point out that Rocket Surgery was the most hoppy of the two - I therefore only had a single pint of Brain Science. This alone was a fabulous concoction of brewing flavours. On the other hand I had several pints of the Rocket Surgery - served in excellent Turning Point glasses, cloudy, as all beer should be, and streaming with hoppiness.

Sat in the sunshine on Saturday, this was equally well hopped and bitter, as well as sumptuously enjoyed - it ran out around tea time, and I enjoyed every single pint. If we clearly skip over the nonsense that I brought upon these fabsters on Friday (we will never speak of this), am happy to say that Saturday was a truly fabulous day and night of supping with Gavin Keiron and Dave Unpro and other folks from th world of beers and brewing. Apparently, I got the bus back. So my pockets tell me......

Finally - and not necessarily a new brew so to speak - but I have to mention what I had in the same Bar Stewards last night. Abbeydale Heathen has long been a popular Sheffield brewed beer, along of course with almost all of their output, but I started on and continued with a Dry Hopped version of Heathen - and it was stunning! I had initially said to Nate that I fancied a pint of the Turning Point and he said it was very nice, but also pointed out the Dry Hopped Heathen. It did not disappoint - very clearly hopped with a good bitterness in the aftertaste. Its in some ways a disappointment - since Heathen for all its qualities cannot usually reach those hoppy heights. That said however, points to the fabsters at Abbeydale for pulling this cracker out of the brewery - not sure they will brew it again but this was simply stunning!

I may have sadly missed out on Indie Beer Shop day if am honest - so many apologies if I have to all my fabulous Sheffield freinds whom stumble lovingly through the never ending horrors placed upon their fabulous trade over the last two years - am looking at you Hop Hideout, Archer Road beer Stop especially - your hard work remains very much appreciated!

With warmest regards


Wee Beefy


Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Quiet Woman falls silent

 Evening all,

               it's with sadness, and sadly less surprise, that I have to mention the death of Ken Mellor, long time landlord of the requisite jewel of the Quiet Woman at Earl Sterndale near Buxton and Longnor. I spoke to John Clarke on Saturday and he told me that the landlady had died, but a check online suggests it was Ken himself - although, sadly, my lack of trips into the peak district recently suggests that both may have passed away. According to the UKCaving website, Ken died a couple of days or so before 28th August 2020.

Regular readers may know that since about 2018 or so, things had sadly gone a little downhill at the Quiet Woman. I first went with Wee Fatha back in 1993 or similar - another ironic thing since Ken died shortly before my Dad. Wee Fatha always loved the pub, along with Ken - am hoping they are having a chin wag about times past, beers no more and dogs, as you read this.

On one visit with the lovely Tash Ken told us that he used to babysit Cliffe at the Royal Cottage when his mum and dad ran it - to be fair they both at least seemed a similar age, but am certain Ken would have been in his late 70s or 80s when he passed away. Checks on the internet as always have been frugal - one says that the place is looking for a new owner or tenant - this of course would depend very much upon whether or not it was still licensed, and of course, sadly, the circumstances of both Ken and his wife. Sadly I can't see it opening up as a pub again. We will see.

I have a mixture of memories of the pub - and I realise I may have already shared  some previously. I know that on my first visit in the early 1990s I had a now discontinued Marstons strong brew called something to do with monks - or royalty? Merry Monk is what I remember - and I recall it was on Cask from the Past as well. Not seen it even in bottles for years but it was a must have beer as I started drinking in 1992. There was also a mild beer on almost always, as well as Marsons Bitter - this was the last beer I ever had under Ken's Stewardship. He also sold Shaw's Brewery beers for a short while, along with Wincle. also for a short while.

People had also a mixed reaction to the pub - I recall visiting with my good friend Davefromtshop many years ago - when they changed requirements for licensees. As the only licensee of his bottle shop (selling draught cask from the past) Dave had to be contactable at all times - when we were in there once his phone went off twice. He apologised and Ken told him to go outside - when he got back in, Ken's wife said "wiv got a bin fo them things". Dave as the nicest man on earth was simultaneously saddened by his failure as well as quite shocked.

On the positive - not forgetting of course his entry on to the National Inventory of Unspoilt Pub Interioirs - was the sale of locally laid fresh eggs and locally made pork pies. Even when he sadly had to stop selling the ones made in Hollinsclough he still stayed loyal to his local suppliers!

Both WF and WK often picked up bottles of the Quiet Woman bottled beers made by Leek Brewery or similar, but sadly over time a few too may grim batches appeared and both parties lost interest.

Overall though, I would like to say that I will really miss both Ken and the pub, and to  pass on my regards and message of regret to the Mellor family for their recent loss.


R.i.P Ken Mellor


Wee Beefy 

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

QIPA, I have heard........

                Evening readings - soz for the lack of recent posts. Since my thus far unreported meet up with chums in Shakespeare's fabulous beer and cider house the day before my birthday, have probably only been out four times, and even then, not to anywhere new. Not that they have been uninteresting.......so, tonight am here to describe a recent haul reflected move towards a reference, to what I imagine may have started in Belgium - to the suggestion of a quadruple IPA.

At the point I type this I can hear the mutterings - surely its just a triple IPA, surely there is no history of QIPA's, surely its just a fad - or, more ridiculous - "ar lass drunk keg back in 1969 n v nivver done sor since" - a scarcely reasonable quote from 2012, which I still hear from CAMRA remembers far too frequently. And which am not yet over.

So I bought a can of Fresh from the North, a 12.2% QIPA from Northern Monk, in can from the future, at the beginning of the month. Tonight I found it's best before was the 8th July, but if I had been more careful reading the label I assure you I would have supped it last week. That said it is 12.2%. I think, and now know, it doesn't disappoint.

I saw my chum, and possibly yours, Robert J Ward, supping and revealing this delight once arriving, or perhaps the night before going to, Seahouses in the marvelous North East. I may have already secured one - if not I did straight away, or ASAP. Tonight I finally opened it - and as hoped, it successfully blends a slab of hops with the natural and seemingly unavoidable "joy" of alcoholic sweetness. I also have to admit that I have found about a 5th of a pint of soup in the can bottom, and heinous as it may sound, I have very much enjoyed adding it to the glass!

So is it a QIPA? Well, sadly, after my all too regular search of the first page of google for info, details of QIPA are at best thin on the ground. The review that came up was for Polly's Spectrum, featuring possibly Spectrum hops, but definitely Mosaic and Citra. Am sure it was ace - sadly that is now sold out. Otherwise it's just Pomona Island and Northern Monk, that have brewed this style, although am sure that others exist. A following search to include "Belgian" at the start brought no other info. Whilst admittedly an at least poor search, I have to say that to start with at least, QIPA has not existed for very long at all. Please feel free to correct me if am wrong.

For me I can see that the issue stems perhaps from the idea of using 4 times the amount of hops and perhaps malt in any brew - already modern brews contain an oft increased and simultaneously amazing amount of hops, so arguably that would not be required. Except - in this case - the strength of the alcohol means that a large slab of hops in fact benefits the taste throughout.

Am still very slowly and I admit enjoyably, drinking the brew now. It is in fact a very admirable undertaking. I know that I like Northern Monk but am happy to say that not only does this creation not disappoint, the lack of specific detail of the type of brew style available,  means that this is in fact a successful undertaking.

I hope that you also get chance to try a taste of this brew!

With kindest regards


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Brizzle

Evening all,

     whilst tackling ( and continuing to tackle) the dire horrors of trying to sell the flst of the sadly passed away Wee Fatha, me and Keith, or rather, WB and WK, decided to get a break away. Initially we thought about Glasgow, but with restrictions not clear, we opted instead for Bristol, a place where WK got his MBA degree with wee fatha back in 2019. I was keen to see what was happening down there, and having asked our friends Ray and Jessica from the blogging world, we got advice on where to go, and what to do. Here are some highlights....

The journey down was plagued by standing traffic - although we did surprisingly bump into Roger and Anne and Rachel our uncle, Aunty and cousin, as we took a break at the services. Back on the motorway we were soon in Bristol and despite having taken a wrong turn to find the hotel (and then a  2 mile detour back) we were soon booked in and headed for our first stop.

This was the Cornubia - we both had a pint of locally brewed southern seas hoppy pale ale or similar, and it was hot sat outside. Popping next to the Seven Stars, I had another locally brewed pale and WK a weaker more traditional drop - both sat outside on benches enjoying these. Next was the Bridge on Passage Street - a cracking pub with 2 or 3 cask from the past on. Me and WK were both on a pint of Purity, before I slipped in another half. Marvellous! 

A bit of a wander followed - down to the quays and Hotwells and along a disused railway track and through a gap in the fence to the fabulous Orchard pub. Here I had a pint of Arbor IPA from the cask, along with a pint of Otter 4 Paws and a half of delicious cider - Hecks, possibly, but only a half. This was a truly fabulous pub, and from here we went to the Merchants Arms at Hotwells. My beers in here are sadly a little unclear - but the pork pie and mustard was much appreciated! A short walk away we went to the wonderful Myrtle Tree - still selling Bass from the cask, so I had a pint and WK a half, before we finished at the Bag of Nails.

I had heard plenty, including from WK, that it certainly smelled of cats, and worse. To be fair there were only 3 cats in when we arrived and no smells - as it was busy we went upstairs - I think I had a pint of Wickwar, but am not entirely sure. The beer was flat and delicious - am going to blame that half of cider for my rant on the walk back to the hotel...

Next day we walked up St Michael's Hill towards the park where the Bristol Comedy Garden was being held. Arriving 55  minutes before it started we queued for about 20 minutes to get in but once sat down there was a bag of goodies and snacks and in the end the gig went quite quickly. Highlight for me was probably Rachel Parris - assuming that is her name - and also later on seeing Rosie Jones in the Highbury Vaults.

We took a quick walk to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and crossed it both ways, before following google maps through the back roads to come out at the Highbury Vaults. Here we met up with Rosie in the beer garden and also the lovely dog that her chums had brought along. A cracking pint of St Austell Proper Job for me, although sadly WK once again had to download an app just to order beer.

Next we sat accross the road at Beerd and enjoyed the dark lager from Lost and Grounded, and a Lost and Grounded pale - both were on excellent form. We then walked down a side road to come out at the Kingsdown Vaults, a cracking pub with a range of real ales on, of which I had a pint of Butcombe - according to the glass! From here we took a walk to Cotham Porter Stores where I had a pint of the excellent Wickwar B.o.B - just like I remembered it.

A short walk down hill and we found ourselves at the marvelous Hare on the Hill. On my last visit this was a Bath Ales pub but now was a  fabulous free house with a grteat range of beers on both keg and cask. Highlights included a beer brewed there, and one each from Good chemistry and Anspatch and Hobday. We could have stayed for many more but were quite hungry as well as a trifle refreshed.

Walking into town we stopped off at a Greek deli for some dolmades and chips before finishing on some frankly ludicrous beers in BrewDog near the hotel. A truly cracking day!

Our next to last day included a walk from the hotel underneath the Clifton suspension bridge to Pill. There are about 4 pubs in the village but we turned up at 1400 - and none opened on a Monday until 1600! After buying scran we hopped in a taxi back to the hotel. 

A quick wander back to King Street brought us to Small Bar - here WK sadly had to download his 5th different app to order and pay for beer - to be fair to them, as they pointed out, they would love to be back in a situation where customers could simply see what was available and ask based on that. I had two thirds of Good Chemistry Jam sesh a fruited pale, followed by 2 thirds of a pale ale which had a name. Soon we were up the hill and steps to Zero Degrees where I had two pints of their Parallax Effect at 5.9%  and Keith included a half of heir Mango ale, before walked down to Steak of the Art for some Bristol Beer Factory and two marvelous meals!

Our penultimate stop was at Beer Emporium where I finished on a pint of super cloudy Electric Bear gluten free pale ale at 4.2%. Our final stop was in the mighty joy of the Left Handed Giant brewery tap. I started on a strong IPA at about 7%, two pints of, before we had two finishers - one imperial stout which was about 10% and one called woodlands or similar which was 11% - really really enjoyable, although, it absolutely destroyed us. And is no way related to my spending £35 on three take out bottles from their aged beer collection...

I realise that we missed a good few of the pubs we really wanted to see -  one behind the town halll and in the market place, possibly called the vines inn? Along with the Wiper and True and Moor brewery taps (although these may have been a way away) along with the Grain Barge. Despite this - I have to say that Bristol was a joyous place to visit, and there are loads of reasons for us to pop back and enjoy them and other places again!


Cheers

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Burning Sky

 Evening folk,

       I realise I may have said this previously - whether in a pub, or in previous posts - or both, but I really like Burning Sky Brewery based in Firle in Sussex. Am also aware that I may have mentioned the excellence of owner and head brewer Mark Tranter, previously the Head Brewer at Dark Star brewing, prior to it's consumptoin by a giant National brewery/brewing conglomerate, who previously produced the excellent Revelation. This month I enjoyed 4 Burning Sky beers - all of which I loved. I was going to blog tonight about the brew am on now. But they are all worthy of a nod.

The first I tried was called Snap Decision,  a very enjoyable American Brown Ale possibly in the high 5 or 6 %. Despite my love of pales am not in fact terrifed of brown ale - and when it's brewed by a great brewery am more than willing to try it. It was as perhaps obvious, a very nice drop - missing the oft dour elements of the UK versions of this style.

Next was a can of their Saison Printemps. Probably 6%, and a mix of what may have been aged beers along with traditional saison producing yeast (or, perhaps inevitably, any number of mis remembered ingredients). I have to say that this was fabulous. I know they have done a lot of different styles of saison but I hadn't had any for a while and this proved what I was missing - gorgeous mouthfeel, delightful aftertaste and drinkability. Nothing like it's strength!

I bought two mighty 750ml bottles - their 7% Greengage saison , a mix of greengage fruits along with a special oak aged saison. I treated myself to two glasses of this and quaffed it in about 90 minutes in total. I seem to have thought it featured Kviek yeast but am now certain that is wrong. That aside, this was another ludicrously easy drinking, mildly but effectively sour and bitterly fruited mix of joy in what is in affect a wine bottle.   

Tonight am finishing the second half ot the frankly amazing 9.7% Eldeberry Monolith - described as a long oak aged wild black beer then aged for a further 6 months on local elderberries. It suggests it tastes a bit like an earthy Burgundy. Wow. It's as good as that characteristic suggests. It is immense.

Not that this makes it in anyway hard drinking - am supping it slowly mainly because am writing and setting up the Laptop. It continues to delight. Being the last of the bottle I added the yeast or other adjuncts in the bottom of the bottle and if anything this mnakes it even more drinkable. The Burgundy is definately there in terms of flavour. But mainly it's a fabulous wonderous sup. And pleasingly, for a brew of such depth and strength , the best before date on the bottle is 2031. If I had managed to get hold of another I may well have saved it until new years eve in 2030.

Thankfully, Burning Sky continue to produce a lot more of their wonderful beer experiments along with excellent IPAs and other styles of beer. If you see any I would heartily recommend that you give them a try.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy